We’ve actually met Labyrinth Interactive creative director Craig Johnson and much of his team before, at Staffordshire University. There, they worked on action-adventure thing Shard – a UDK adaptation of the Snow Queen myth. While Johnson’s first project didn’t work out precisely as he would’ve liked, he did manage to pull together a core group of hardworking friends to form an indie outfit. In the last month, they’ve made serious headway on their first proper game: a cooperative mishmash of hacking, slashing, and stronghold defence.
In Unbreakable, there is a fortress, and you must do everything within you power to protect the Runestone at its centre. To do that, you’ll buy and place units appropriately, rustle up towers, and then leave your personal touch on the battlefield with spells and such. The whole thing’s geared toward four-player co-op through LAN or online, and will be released in three installments. The first will include a mage character and one stronghold, Ellental’s Fortress – but over the course of a year they’ll be joined by three other classes and two extra maps.
“We’ve pretty much powered through most of the code we needed,” Johnson told PCGamesN. “We’re just waiting on some more models and then we can test them all – our modellers are a bit low on the ground at the moment, but they’re working as hard as they can!
“Thankfully though, once we start getting models out that we have code for, we can begin ticking a lot of boxes, and will be able to spend more time tweaking and perfecting the game before release.”
Labyrinth have a few key games and films jotted down for reference in their design document. The first is Lord of the Rings, which inspired a lot of the stronghold design.
“One thing I loved about [Lord of the Rings Conquest] was defending Helm’s Deep by wading through enemies on the ramp up to the front gates,” said Johnson, “but I really hated the fact that you weren’t defending it, just moving from set piece to set piece without any real threat.”
The face-to-face combat, meanwhile, will come with a hefty smack of God of War “meatiness”.
“I loved the feel that you were actually doing damage,” explained Johnson. “If you compare the combat between God of War 2 and 3, the change is dramatic enough that it doesn’t carry any weight; in 3, you simply slice through enemies like they’re not even there, so it’s a little unfulfilling.”
As for the chumps you’ll be hacking and slashing – they’ll come in huge swathes.
“I took reference from Ninety-Nine Nights,” explained Johnson. “The sheer number of enemies you fought in each fight made you feel unbeatable, and we wanted to mirror that feeling with Unbreakable’s enemy count.
“We’ve been testing out different numbers – so far, 200 enemies on screen works but kills the frame rate, so we’re trying to compromise and see where exactly we can work from!”
Labyrinth are currently working towards a modest goal on Kickstarter, and have their eyes on Steam Greenlight too. Does this sound like the kind of offensive defence you might be persuaded into backing?